“Not that Everyone Has Been Intimidated”


It is common to ridicule economists–sometimes with some good reason.  But the 50 brave economists in Iran who refused to be intimidated, have made us proud.


(p. 1)  Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women’s rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.

The shift is occurring against the backdrop of an economy so stressed that although Iran is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, it is on the verge of rationing gasoline. At the same time, the nuclear standoff with the West threatens to bring new sanctions.

The hard-line administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, analysts say, faces rising pressure for failing to deliver on promises of greater prosperity from soaring oil revenue. It has been using American support for a change in government as well as a possible military attack as a pretext to hound his opposition and its sympathizers.

. . .

(p. 9)  Not that everyone has been intimidated. More than 50 leading economists published a harshly worded, open letter to the president saying his policies were bringing economic ruin. High unemployment persists, there has been little foreign investment and inflation is galloping, with gasoline alone jumping 25 percent this spring.

Gasoline rationing is expected within a month, with consumers so anxious about it, reported the Web site Ruz, financed by the Dutch government, that skirmishes broke out in long lines at some pumps on June 17.


For the full story, see; 

NEIL MacFARQUHAR.  "Iran Cracks Down on Dissent, Parading Examples in Streets."  The New York Times, Section 1   (Sun., June 24, 2007):  1 & 9. 

(Note:  the online version of the article is entitled "Iran Cracks Down on Dissent," and is accompanied by a disclaimer that the latest evidence is ambiguous on the original claim in the print article that dissenters were being paraded in the streets.)

(Note:  ellipsis added.)


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